Crez interviews Bunshin Horitoshi

When and how did you get started in tattooing?
I started my apprenticeship when I was 20 years old. Two years later I became a professional tattooer. That is proved by my master.

How long did it take to get the first proper results?
I m still trying to figure out the proper result.

Do you consider painting a part of your learning process?
I paint as much as I tattoo. That’s because I can always get new ideas from painting.

Before you’ve started tattooing were you involved in any subculture such as punk, dark, metal, rock and roll, rap?
Yes! Hardcore, metal, and punk!

Tattoo by Bunshin Horitoshi
Tattoo by Bunshin Horitoshi

If you have to pick three tattoo artists that inspire your work who would you mention and why?
My master Horikyo I: I got inspired by his color contrast, and by the way he calculated gray and black for background. All his colors and black shading have been solid for a life time. Marcuse (Smilin Demons Tattoo): for his drawing skills; for how he made the design and how it fits on the body shape. Also for the colors, which are so solid. And for his sense of humor. There are too many tattooers I got inspired by. It’s difficult to choose only three.

From when you started, how has the business evolved in your country?
It’s been getting better and better.

Machines (rotary or coil), Tebori (hand tools) or both? What’s your choice? Why?
I had been working by hand (line, color, shading) for the first five or six years. But now I’ve been using machine (coil machine) for the outline only, since last 10 years. I do everything else by hand. Using machine for outlining is faster than tebori. Also I can make it cleaner!… I can make it clean by hand as well, but it takes much longer. I care about the time of my customers. I can make the color and shading solid. And I actually have almost no experience with machine for color and shading.

Can you list a top five of your favourite visual artists of all eras? What is attractive of their work in your opinion?
Kuniyoshi Utagawa: dynamic outlining for the design. Just a legend.
Kyosai Kawanabe: fun drawing. More playful designs. One of my favorite artist.
Hokusai Katsushika: pefect designs. Showing skills about how to draw
Kazunobu Kano: incredible the details of design. Color contrast.
Jakuchu Ito: beautiful design and colors. Different way to style what he made.

How do you feel about the “ban” of tattooing in Japan?
I don’t think it is banned. It’s Just a case. I try my best to make tattoo for my customers that’s enough to think about at the moment.

What’s the most challenging subject for you and why?
Ther are no challenging subjects. I would like to make my tattoo look solid like fresh tattoo for at least 30-40 years. I’ve seen my master ‘s artworks: they was like that and they still are solid.

Follow Bunshin Horitoshi on Instagram: @bunshinhoritoshi